A Rare Chain of Events

It was cool in the basement of Vito’s Pizza in East Mesa--a stark contrast from the Arizona heat outside. 
I was surrounded by my parents and many of my siblings.
Andrew and Reachel were talking about their best friends, Christian and Stephanie, who had recently been in a terrible plane crash and were both still fighting for their lives in a burn center.  

It seemed to be the topic of ever conversation, but this time something else was brought up…
Andrew turned to me and told me Christian had a little brother who had gotten home from his mission recently. They wanted to introduce us at one of the upcoming fundraising events. 
I instantly refused. 

I had, too recently, broken up with someone. 
Besides, I was not one for blind dates. 

The week went on and Andrew was persistent about our encounter, but I was equally persistent in refusal. 

He finally got me when he told me they needed a volunteer to sell balloons for the benefit.
Obviously, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to help, and I just hoped there would be no forced set-up scene. 
The morning of the carnival came and like most mornings in Arizona, it was a hot one. 
I had to be down their extra early to help set up, so a shower was not in order. 
The hours past and the sun beat hotter and deeper into my pale skin. 
Red faced and tired was my condition when Mary Nielson made her way to the balloons.
I feared what would happen next.
She introduced herself as Christian’s mom and began to discuss my study abroad to Ireland--she had been their herself and loved to hear of other’s traveling adventures.
Soon a small clan of Nielson’s were around me talking of Irish excursions.
Then Mary beckoned a handsome brunette boy over. 
He had rosy cheeks that were accentuated by his red polo. Mary introduced him to me and tried to get him to join in on the Ireland tales. We chatted a bit and I’m not sure how, but everyone disappeared but he and I. 
It was awkward. 
I tried to lessen the uncomfort by handing him a balloon, he didn’t seem to care for one. 
It got more awkward. 
Part of me hated Andrew for beguiling me into this. 
I reverted to my overly-sarcastic self and tried to joke about something. 
He didn’t laugh. 
Who was this kid? Did he love to feel uncomfortable?

A few more minutes past and we recovered slightly, but I was more than happy when I could leave the conversation and return to my balloon selling duties.
As I got home and reflected on the utter confusion of that encounter: I felt like I had been sort of a brat, but I was not going to take all the blame for this one, he had done NOTHING to help the horrible situation. 
It was terrible and it bothered me deeply. Even if I wasn’t interested in a relationship right now, I had still never experienced such a strange meeting in all my life!
It’s always been very easy for me to get along with boys, so this whole thing baffled me
I tried to just get over it, but it hankered my conscience.
I saw him a time or two more at other fundraisers, but contact was avoided. 

Eventually, I looked him up on Facebook. 
I had to get to the bottom of it, was it I who had totally botched that introduction, or was he some sort of human-hater that brought about awkwardness where ‘ere he go?
I was really hoping for the latter, but as I scrolled through one of his albums, the former seemed more likely. 
He looked charming and fun, with great group of friends. 
What in the world? This story kept getting weirder.
Time past, and while the mystery of our meeting never quite settled inside me, I got over it.

A year went by and I was in the process of making some life-changing choices when the thought of Marcus, that rosy-cheeked boy, popped into my mind. 
“That was awkward,” I said to my mind. “Why would you think of him?” and I brushed it aside. 
A few days later it happened again. At which point, I got mad. 

Why in the world would I start thinking about him?! 
I had met him once, and if you recall, it was NOT an ideal meeting. I hadn’t talked to him in a year and the last thing I knew was that he was going to school in Idaho!

I went to the gym to forget my frustrations. When I got home I was about to hop in the shower, but decided to go check Facebook really quick. 

{Now, one thing you should know about me, I have a slight phobia of having too many people try to chat with me at once, so I NEVER show when I’m online, but for some reason that day I was curious.  So, I signed on for just a second to see who I was sharing the world-wide web with.}
 To my surprise a certain Marcus Nielson was on.  
I felt strange and decided, for some reason that was beyond me, to stay signed on for two minutes, just to prove to my mind that she was wrong and that I was right and that thinking of Marcus was the silliest thing she could ever be thinking about; just about the time this inner-conflict conversation was over, and I was about to turn off the computer and jump in the shower, never to think of the young Mr. Nielson again, I heard that all-telling-Facebook-chat-POP that every user is familiar with. 
My eyes almost fell out of  my head when I looked down and saw:
credit
Marcus Nielson: Hey Ashley. Ha! What‘s up?
Ummm, what? Come again, Facebook?  
Did you just develop a mind reading virus of some sort?
Ashley Bagley: Ha! Hey! I just got back from the gym. How about you?
Marcus Nielson: Oh cool, I’m just back in Arizona for the semester and I’m getting pretty bored. I saw on your profile that you dance. That’s cool, I’d love to learn.
Ashley Bagley: Ya, I do the tango at ASU. It’s really fun, you should learn!…

And then we talked for about an hour and  for once, it wasn’t awkward. 

I walked around like a deer in the headlights all day. 
What was happening?!

For the couple of weeks days we chatted and discussed plans of dancing. Summer got busy and it was a few weeks before we actually met up, but when we did, it was anything but awkward.

Well, I suppose the initial meeting was slightly awkward. 
We had been talking on FB for so long that we knew a lot about each other and yet we had only met once. 
I wasn’t sure whether to greet him with a hug or handshake or…curtsy?
 But after I chose a quick hug, all was fine and dandy. 
We sat in my basement and talked for 5 hours straight--as if we were old friends catching up. 
It was nice. When 12:30 rolled around we decided he’d better go home. We parted with another quick hug. 

We both found our second encounter to be a success. 
Even greater because of the stark contrast from the first.

The next few weeks were grand. 
We watched movies, he held my hand, we tried not to break our track-record, by having our first kiss be awkward, followed immediately by a totally amazing, non-awkward, but instead, leg-popping second, and then we dated like there was no tomorrow. 
After all, he was heading back to Idaho at the end of the semester and this was all just fun and games, right?
Hmmmm....maybe not.

If you want to see how we got from that to this, you can read about it here and here.

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